Saturday, August 28, 2010

Week ending 29th August

A very wet week, with few opportunities to get to the fields. Friday 27th was the first good day. A flock of 20+ Pacific Golden Plovers has occupied a ploughed field for the last couple of days. While watching these on Friday a smart Barred Buttonquail popped into view and scurried along the edge of the field. Difficult to focus on as they never stop moving, nevertheless a couple of usable photographs, the best of which is below. The Plovers themselves are quite wary of people, but still in remnants of breeding plumage, so quite nice. The same day a pair of Java Sparrows posed obligingly. Little else of note. Wood Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper numbers are increasing steadily, but no other waders yet.

Spotted Dove

Pacific Golden Plover A smart bird, but keeping its distance

Chestnut Munia Very photogenic!

Barred Buttonquail A very smart female being evasive.

Java Sparrow Our (feral) population here seems in good health.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Week ending 22nd August

Quite a wet week all round, with several shorts bouts of heavy rain, and more prolonged light showers. Quite a few Blue-tailed Bee-eaters arrived on the upland farm in front of the weather on 17th , mostly juveniles. Also the same day a single Slaty-breasted Rail showed itself on the lowland farm. The first Pacific Golden Plover of autumn was present on the same day, an earlier record than previous years.

The 18th was very wet, a White-browed Crake with 2 hatchlings was the most interesting sighting.

Slaty-breasted Rail. The movements of these birds are not well known in The Philippines. I have records on the farms from early May, mid-August (two consecutive years), late September, and late October regularly through to late November. That appears to indicate autumn passage and a regular winter population, but the lack of records from early December onwards is puzzling.

Slaty-breasted Rail

Fan-tailed Cisticola

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Week ending 15th August

The first interesting sighting this week was an adult White-bellied Sea Eagle flying high over the Calamba-Los Banos highway on Thursday. They should be everywhere, but I have yet to see one even on the coast. The bird I saw must have been coming from the main lagoon of the Philippines, Laguna de Bay, which is absolutely rank. I have been down there and seen terns and a few Little Egrets so some birds survive, but the number of humans whose waste empties into that lagoon numbers in the tens of millions, if I was an Eagle I wouldn't go near it!

Friday was dry, and several Oriental Pratincoles showed up, the first for a couple of weeks. While I was watching them a gorgeous Red Turtle Dove landed right in front of me. Other noteworthy birds inculded a fly-over Pied Triller and a flock of 20+ Java Sparrows. I've not seen more than 4 together before, so this was a big surprise.

Sunday was also dry. I relocated a Golden-headed (Bright-capped) Cisticola I'd found a month or so ago, this time with a mate. Beautiful, in full breeding plumage, but crap light sadly. Next time. Several Blue-tailed Bee-eaters were around, they have also been away for a while.

White-browed Crake. An abundant species in the rice fields. This cracking bird was showing very well on Sunday.

Cinnamon Bittern Very visible at the moment, often seen flying overhead, sometimes quite high.

Chestnut Munia A very smart adult. Very common and visible at the moment.

Zebra Dove

Red Turtle Dove A stunning bird when seen well. This one just plonked down in front of me while I was watching some Pratincoles.

Oriental Pratincole (juvenile) Most of the adult plumage features are all but absent in this juvenile (collar, throat patch, red on the bill), except for the red underwing which is completely developed.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Week ending 8th August

Not much new this week. The weather is still very overcast most days, with regular heavy rain. The population of Wood Sandpipers has increased slowly , and a few Little Ringed Plovers have started to arrive. Two Common Sandpipers were also new this week, the first since early May. Oriental Pratincoles numbers have been declining in recent weeks, with none at all this week for the first time since early February. Great views of a pair of Painted Snipe was very nice

White-collared Kingfisher

Little Egret

Painted Snipe A pair hiding on the edge of a paddy.

Large-billed Crow. The nominate feature is particularly obvious here!

Chestnut Munia Adult male with juveniles.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Early August

Sunday was the first dry day in a while, and some sun too which was a bonus. Some nice birds showing well, including an obliging Buff-banded Rail, Painted Snipe and a Striated Grassbird (below). One Clamorous Reed Warbler was unusual for the time of year, though maybe I've been missing them because they're silent at this time of year. Quite secretive, very easy to miss.

Striated Grassbird

Painted Snipe

Little Ringed Plover (juvenile)

Little Ringed Plover

Crested Mynah

Buff-banded Rail

Buff-banded Rail

Wednesday update. First Common Sandpipers of autumn arrived today, also the Cattle Egrets are back after a 2 week absence. A large flock of Island Swiftlets were just ahead of the storm-clouds this afternoon.